Lost speedo in Port Gamble

The town of Port Gamble was about a half mile away, accessible by a dinghy ride to the boat launch. It’s a historic lumber town dating back to the mid 1800’s, though the lumber mill shut down in 1995, after 142 years of operation. Today – still owned by the mill – the town has been preserved, designated a National Historic Landmark, and is still quite active as a tourist destination.

We definitely wanted to come into town for a meal or two during the week, even though there were only two eateries in the whole of town. We were hopeful that the small general store would also keep us restocked on some of the basics, but we never did get to it during open hours. By looking through the window it appeared to be more a souvenir shop than a general store anyway, so I didn’t try all that hard to return. The historic residential buildings were the real star of the show. All restored beautifully, and many still being used today either as home or storefront. All have placards along the sidewalk giving the history of the building and the original inhabitants or purpose.

Our arrival and anchoring was smooth but for one minor failure; our speedometer stopped working during our trip over from Pleasant Harbor. I saw that it was reading well below what I knew our boat speed to be for a few minutes, then it just went to zero-point-zero and never registered movement again. Remembering all the way back to last October, I knew that the device that measures our water speed is a simple paddle-wheel, deep under the boat. I figured we had some seaweed or fishing line wrapped up in it, and made plans to dive on it during the week.

When the day arrived (I chose the warmest day of the week) I stuffed myself into my clearly too small second-hand wet suit and equipped my snorkeling mask and the GoPro camera for the fun of it. Learning from my last time in the water back in Union, I ran a line under the boat to pull myself down – as opposed to swimming down – to where I needed to be working. The buoyancy of the suit made it quite difficult to stay under water without something to keep me there. I jumped in and went to work, expecting to simply clear the wheel of the blockage. I know. I know. I said “simple”. I don’t know why that word is still in my vocabulary at all. Nothing ever is, even on a ‘simple’ old boat. Once I touched the paddle-wheel it jumped out of it’s mount and dropped to the bottom of the bay. Now the transducer needs to be replaced… yet another project to add to the never ending list.


Kerri found a trail system – the Port Gamble Forest Heritage Park – a half mile to our south, easily accessible by a short dinghy ride. Completely out of character, she proposed we wake early (what!?) each morning and get in a hike before the work day starts. Who am I to turn that down? The park not only had miles and miles of trails it also happens to be one of those rare areas in which the local government doesn’t cower to a few whiners and still allows dogs to be off leash (under voice control, of course). Moose is a great trail hiker and quite easily controlled by voice in these environments. It especially helped that we were hiking in the early mornings on weekdays. It has been a long time since he got to run like he needs.

It didn’t take a degree to realize the true reason Kerri wanted to get on the trails – it had nothing really to do with ‘hiking’ but instead that the mushroom season had begun. While Moose got to happily run back and forth on trails, Kerri was gleefully finding, photographing, and foraging the wild mushrooms. I just took the opportunity to hang out in some trees again. We would come back to the boat with a bag full of mushrooms each morning… she was one satiated fungi-eater for the next few days. In the most selfless act known to mankind, I refrained from eating any mushrooms so she could have them all to herself.

One of our final evenings in Port Gamble was spent with Michael and Imkelina, who drove over the bridge (they happened to be camped not far away) to come hang out with us over dinner. It is always a pleasure to meet other nomads and share stories. Thankfully they followed Kerri’s Instagram as opposed to this blog. The blog is usually a week or two behind our current location, while Kerri posts more up to date tidbits.

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3 Responses

  1. Rob says:

    I was impressed, you didn’t scream when you went into the water! 🙂 I use the speed from my GPS (a Garmin) a lot when we’re driving, do they make a GPS for boats? I mention that because it looks to my uneducated eye that replacing the wheel that fell off would be really exciting with the boat still in the water.

    • Tim says:

      i screamed on the inside 🙂

      We still have speed on our nav software, but it shows speed-over-ground, not speed-thru-water, which can be very different with the currents and such. It is good to have both pieces of info. Yes, replacing it will require the cork be opened up for a short period, complete with water coming into the boat at a rapid rate.

  2. Michael says:

    We did have a good time with you both in Port Gamble…could have spent all evening hearing of your travels. We now can keep abreast of you both in “somewhat” current time or every other week via your blog. We continue to share your amazing store and adventures with friends. We are also hopeful that the next time we have a chance to connect we will be more than fungi “we don’t know shit” to “we know what not to eat” foragers. Happy to hear you found those “blue” books.

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